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I’ve become somewhat of a pro at being productive, I can thank years of running my own business and all that it can entail- last minute cancelled sessions, spare time and ability to control when and where I work. I’m also quite a focused and driven individual.
The biggest point I want to make is like living a healthier lifestyle, productiveness can be a learned skill. You can easily get better at it but doing it more and more.
So let’s dive in
Set Boundaries. Setting boundaries especially around your time is essential if you want to become more productive. That person that yabbers on to you for 5 minutes, then 10 then 20- they are sucking up valuable time where you could be getting shit done. Whilst its lovely to be the shoulder to cry on or the caring stranger to someone, sometimes you need to step away and let them sort their problems (or mess) out. I made an important decision years ago that my time wasn’t any more valuable than anyone else’s. It’s all equal.
Lists. This is a kind no brainer but sometimes it’s the easiest solutions that are often overlooked. Write it down, girlfriend. Whatever is in that head of yours- Get. It .Out.
Timer challenge. If you are someone who needs change and variety when completing tasks, set up a timer (say 30 mins) and have you jobs that need completing in front of you (ie refer to your list). You will aim to set out to achieve and complete as much of that said job as humanly possible in that time frame. I find this timer challenge works well for those hard to do jobs (cleaning springs to mind).
Outsource. Something you’ve got to learn early on in the “game”. It can vary from childminding to book keeping to gardening. Always ask yourself “is this the best use of my time and skills?” Obviously money will come into play here but think of it this way, if you can earn $500+ a day then forking out $30/hour for 3-4 hours to have your house bright and sparkling is totally worth it. We need to stop trying to excel at every freaking thing- it’s ok to ask or pay for help. My biggest outsource god send for me right now (and probably has always been) an accountant. Worth their weight in gold!
Make time for exercise. You do yourself a disservice but not scheduling it in. A minimum of 30 minutes per day is going to see you thriving not just scraping by on caffeine and shitty take out food and sugar. Adding strength training helps posture for those hours spent hunched at your desk.
Sacred space. I’m a fan of solitude, always have been. I remember as a child finding a reading nook under the stairs and (even though this sounds slightly dangerous) I’d climb onto the roof of my house and just chill out there on my own. I was an only child for 7 years so I like “alone time”. Creating a space for you to be productive in is key to getting shit done! I know open plan offices are all trendy and cool but sheesh nothing would shit me more than Stacey from accounts coming in and interrupting me all day long! Where is a door when you need one? Barriers such as headphones are a great way to tell me this is my “in the zone” time. I’m also a fan of subliminal messaging (or not so subliminal) like this cup. At the end of the day, it’s about respecting boundaries and understanding some of us just want to get in and get it done.
Use dead time wisely. So the jerk (hey, I’m sure he or she is really a nice person) cancelled an appointment with you at the last second. Well rather than stalking your ex on FB, use the time to set up another meeting or research your next project. The key here is “just keep swimming”, don’t let dead time become well, dead. For me, I’ll record a quick video or at least plan out a few videos or blog posts in advance. I might crack out a quick HIIT workout, take the dog for walk, listen to a podcast. Whatever helps me get closer to achieving my goals for the day. I 100% always feel better if I’ve used my time wisely rather than seeing it fade into oblivion.
Take regular breaks. Don’t be the girl tied to her desk all day. It’s all in your head that you have to be the one to stay back or give of more of your time than your other colleagues (again boundaries! Inforce them). Give out for a walk in the fresh air, go grab some lunch and just spend time outside of your work zone. Even for those than work from home- fresh air can really revitalise you. Walk to your colleague’s desk rather than pushing send on that email. Get up and go to water cooler for a hydration break.
Know your worth. Keep a regular account of your current skills and job description on hand so when the opportunity arises (and this may mean you seeking the opportunity and scheduling a meeting with your boss) you’ve got it all laid out for the decision makers to see your worth. It’s time to grow some lady balls and ask for that promotion and pay rise! I’m a massive believer of productivity increasing when we are valued and PAID what we are worth. Pull a trusted colleague aside and ask them to honestly tell you your strengths and weaknesses so you can work on self-improvement. It may be time to jump in and learn a new skill and study to improve your situation financially.
Love what you do, do what you love. Plain and simple. We are here for a good time not a long time. There is zero point staying in a role/career/job you despise, working with others who are uninspiring and just plodding through life. Take time out to find what fires you up and excites you.
How do you keep your “productiveness” at an all time high?